Friday, March 27, 2015
developing a bottom up vision statement
On Tuesday, I was in a group in which the purpose question was asked: “What is the purpose of your organisation?” The whole question of why an organisation exists is crucial. It provides clarity. It allows you to say yes to things and no to things. It provides motivation.
At our team meeting on Thursday, I decided to take the story from Tuesday, tell it and ask the question of the team. “What is the purpose of our organisation?” In our case, we’re a theological college. We are in a re-building team phase, with at least four folk new in the last few months. So the question would not only provide clarity, guidance and motivation. It would also help with team building and re-building.
In order to resource the conversation, I used the Signposts resource.
It involves a whole range of pictures, printed on card, with a few phrases. It’s visual and tactile. I spread them around the room and invited the team out of their seat and to each find a card that they felt answered the question – What is the purpose of a theological College? Returning to our seats, we each shared our cards.
I then offered two options. (We normally set aside 30 minutes in our team meeting for devotion and community time,). One option was to share with each other a moment recently when we had seen our card in action. This took the ideal of why we exist and located it in our life as a group. It allowed for encouragement.
The other option was that everyone was asked to leave their cards on the table. And if folk wanted, they could try and find a sentence that wove together all of the cards. This was a far harder option and I wasn’t sure if there would be any takers, let alone any success.
But I was amazed, within 15 minutes, the group reported back they had a sentence. Within 30 minutes, with the help of one question (What is our purpose?) and a set of visuals, we had developed, from the bottom up, with the input of every voice in the team, a rough vision statement.
Wednesday, March 25, 2015
engaging innovation in cultural change
As a Uniting College, we have a number of innovation projects that this year are moving from dream to reality.
We have a Certificate in Bible and Leadership for English as a Second Language. This began as a dream at the start of last year. Funding was obtained and by the middle of the year, a person appointed. After research and networking, at the start of this year they offered a trial topic. Seven students, from six different nationalities have begun.
We have a Big Year Out, designed to grow young adults in ministry and mission. Last year it was touch and go, with four students and a lot of learning. This year we have seven students and a much clearer idea of where we are going.
We have a Diploma of Ministry, with a specialisation in chaplaincy. This began back as a spark late in 2012 and since then we’ve offered an annual topic in the Theology and Practice of Chaplaincy. This year we’re about to graduate our first student, who has completed the entire course by distance, from New South Wales. It’s a great story of an innovation becoming a reality.
Together, these programmes are changing the shape of our student cohort. It is younger, more multi-cultural with a greater breadth in conversation, vocation and passion.
Each of these areas are led by a dedicated and gifted leader. They are part-time, so there is a risk of a sense of isolation from the wider Uniting College team. So as part of our team retreat this year, I designed a process that would help the team connect with these parts of our life.
Here’s what I suggested. That each of these dedicated and gifted leaders share, for around 25-30 minutes each. First, in 10 minutes, the individual share with the team
- 3 challenges they face in implementing their role in 2015
- 2 things they most need from the team
- 1 question they don’t currently know the answer too
Second, in 15 minutes the team respond to the one question. Whether in groups or as a whole group, we as a team offer our good minds in working with the challenges these innovations face. My hope was that as a result of this process, we as a team would be better informed, that individuals would feel heard and supported and that from the brainstorming some constructive ideas might emerge.
The process worked well. The energy in the room went right up. The discussion was deep, rich and engaging.
But the next day, something unexpected happened. We were discussing our team values and someone piped up. “We need to add take risk and celebrate failure. You see, we’ve got all these innovations happening and one way to support them is to be willing to risk and learn in our journey together.” And around the room, the team nodded.
It was a lovely moment to watch. I don’t know many theological colleges that have risk and fail in their team values. One of my goals in becoming Principal was to increase the innovative capacity of the organisation and here it was emerging so spontaneously and naturally, from the team, not me. Engaging innovation was resulting in cultural change. Simply by creating processes to listen and reflect.
Thursday, March 12, 2015
minding the gap in team formation
Minding the gap can build teams and form cultures. Let me tell you what happened, then unpack the learnings.
It began yesterday during chapel. The reader of the Gospel reading missed some words. Instead of
For God so loved the world
that he gave his one and only Son
that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. (John 3:16)
the reader initially offered us
For God so loved the world
that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. (John 3:16)
Realising the gap, the reader quickly, and appropriately, corrected themselves.
The missing words got me thinking. Those 8 words. What would it mean if they were not just missing, but actually absent. What type of faith would we have if those words were not in the Bible? What type of life might be lived, if there really was no “that he gave his one and only Son”?
To put it another way. Christ-centred is one of the core values of Uniting College. So, if we as a College had no Christ, would it make any tangible difference to life, to our teaching and the way we treat each other?
I decided to make this the focus of our team devotions today. It would offer a continuity with what was a great chapel. It would allow us to explore a core value. In addition, we also have four folk new to our team in the last 3 months. So this conversation might enable them to be drawn more deeply into our team culture.
So I began the devotion, by pointing out the gap. I’d produced the words, the complete verse and the verse with the words missing, on a sheet of paper for folk to hold and handle. In pairs I invited them to reflect on what happened if those words went missing and on whether faith would be different. Each pair fed back, ensuring a shared voice across the team. And then together as a whole group, I asked if the presence of Jesus does in any way affect our workplace.
The conversation was excellent, animated and intense. A newcomer observed that the missing 8 words spoke of love. And her experience of our workplace was of nurture. Which could only come from love. So yes, Jesus obviously was important. Another noted that these words were an invitation, not an imposition. So our commitment to Christ could be done in way in which faith need not be forced. Others noted they had no interest in teaching leadership without Christ and that without Jesus, homiletics was simply motivational speaking. Which they were not in the least interested in teaching. So yes, Jesus was important.
So what did I learn about team formation?
- First, that the most effective teaching tool can be a question. In this case “do those missing words matter?”
- Second, that observation can open up significant learning. In this case one simple observation – of 8 missing words; followed by the question - resulted in an excellent collaborative discussion.
- Third, that those new to a team, as they find their voice, can add important richness and perspective to a team discussion.
- Fourth, that team culture is never static. It requires constant work. Tonight, the Uniting College team culture is richer than it was this morning. Because I minded the gap.
Tuesday, March 03, 2015
Worth coming for the creative resources alone
“It’s worth coming for the creative resources alone,” said a happy punter as they tucked the order of worship into their bag. Yesterday we kicked off at Uniting College another year of Leadership Formation Days.
These aim to build community among individuals on the journey to ordination. So yesterday in small groups and with the aid of colour chips of paint, relationships were built.
They invite reflection on the practice of ministry. So yesterday input on Pauline spirituality and adaptive leadership in resource poor congregations. A rich, deep study of how Paul’s spirituality of ministry connected with the work of Heifetz (Leadership on the Line: Staying Alive through the Dangers of Leading), and provided richness for ministers in aging congregations.
They provide prayer and worship – in ways that are “worth coming for the creative resources alone.” So yesterday praise, for the generations before who had formed us, and intercession, for the generations we are involved in forming.
Names written on yellow and orange post-it notes, placed around the edge of the communion table. On which some godly play around the lectionary text was done, the giving of the 10 commandments. On which the communion elements, bread and wine were shared.
They share stories, in order to build our ability to work with the living documents that are the lives of people. So yesterday, two stories of the journey to ministry and the journey in ministry. A few tears, as redemption was enfleshed.
Monday, February 02, 2015
Today the Uniting College team takes time out. Not to sit in the naughty corner, but to renew and refocus.
Half of our time will be spent on spiritual renewal. We want to be a team that not only works but also worships. So together during the retreat we will enjoy some Godly play, with a Children’s ministry leader from a local church present to invite us to wonder at the Biblical story we find ourselves in. Individually, people have also been asked to bring what renews them. There is space for folk to do that and then to gather and share that with each other, underlining our diversity as a community.
The other half of our time will be spent on planning. We have two tasks. One is to take forward the Capacity Builder strategic plan that guides and holds us. 2015 is the last year of the (four year) plan, and there are some as yet untouched areas that we need to focus on. We have done some parts of our plan superbly, but there at some areas we have yet to touch. These include
- Faculty increasing their research output
- Student formation enhanced through the use of journals in which they share courageous attempts to integrate learning with practice
- Every ordination candidate able to articulate a plan toward innovation and invigoration
- Regional delivery, taking College to the local church
So I will be suggesting a process whereby the structures we have created over the last few years can be deployed to enable us to achieve these agreed goals. (It is so good having a plan, which means we gather around already agreed momentum).
We also have to re-tell the story of our team culture. We have a set of team values that we continue to articulate and revisit. We will do that again, pausing to check that these values say all that needs to be said about how we want to “be” and “do” with each other in this current season. This is also an act of hospitality, allowing those new to the team to hear if you like, part of our family story.
Thursday, January 29, 2015
colouring my leadership
Over my recent summer holidays, I appreciated the New Zealand landscape. Four colours in particular grabbed me. They were the grey of alpine stone, the blue of glacial water, the green of Westcoast forest and the yellow of the alpine daisy, each an important memory in a road trip that Team Taylor took to the Westcoast.
I pondered some way to take these holiday experiences into my working year. The process began by reflecting on the emotion that each colour generated in me, those feelings of concrete stability (alpine grey), of awe at nature (glacier blue), at the outrageous growth possible due to West coast rain (forest green), at the joy of exploration that meant an encounter with the very rare alpine daisies that grow around Castle Hill.
I then sought to reduce each colour to a word. One word. This was difficult, but the work paid off.
As I pondered these words, I realised that each word, each colour, could actually be applied to my vocation as Principal.
- grey=clarity, as I communicate, chair meetings, conduct performance appraisals, ask questions
- blue=wonder, as I ask “what is God up to?” in the candidates I am part of forming, in the classes I teach, in the team I lead
- yellow=explore, as I seek in my research and reading to keep addressing the questions of mission and ministry
- green=create, as I have some specific writing projects that I want to deliver on
In turn, I then began to imagine how my weekly diary might look. Grey (clarity) and blue (wonder) are the colours of my day to day work. Yellow (explore) is the research time that I programme into my Fridays. Green (create) is what happens in study leave and with my “hour a day” of writing habit that while I struggle to maintain, has a been a great help in enhancing my writing output in recent years.
The colours have changed my attitudes to work. As I journal at the end of each day, I focus now not only on what happened, but on the colour. How have I been part of bringing clarity? Where have I seen wonder? As I turn to write for an hour a day, often tiredly, I am refreshed by thinking of green, the invitation to create.
To give one specific example, the day I arrived back from holiday, my PA regretfully told me that she needed to resign, due to personal reasons relating to an unexpected and critical health concern in the family. The colours shaped my response. How could I bring grey/clarity in my communication with team and wider? What, I wonder, might God be doing in this totally unexpected news?
The colours helped me look at life in new ways. It enabled me to pray in new ways. Equally importantly, I have a deep sense that the joy of recreation that is part of summer is continuing with me into my working week.
Each of us will have different colours. Each of us have different ways to recreate. Each of us have different working weeks. But I wonder what your colours would be? And how they might shape how you engage with your working place?
Wednesday, January 28, 2015
the mindfulness of vocation
I love the way the prophets’ call begins (Old Testament Lectionary reading for Sunday 25 January 2015). In Jeremiah 1:4, “Now the word of the Lord came …”
Not yesterday or tomorrow, but now.
There is a time-bound, fully present, mindfulness to this call.
The entire passage in Jeremiah 1:4-10 is laced with God’s action. Considers the verbs – forms, knows, consecrates, appoints, sends, commands, delivers, touches (mouth), appoints. The whole process is about God’s actions.
The prophet is only a participant. What that requires of the human in response to God’s action, is a participation in the now.
One contemporary word to describe this is mindfulness. It’s common in schools and wellbeing workshops. It’s the intentional focus of one’s attention on the emotions, thoughts and sensations occurring in the present moment.
On the now. This body, this community, this set of challenges, these invitations. I know churches and organisations caught up in God’s action yesterday. I know leaders who live constantly for the future. The challenge of Jeremiah 1:4 is for leaders to be in the now, responding to God’s actions in and around them.
This brings into play two essential practices of mission, those of listening and discernment. Listening, in order to pay attention to the “now” of God’s action; discerning, naming what it might mean to participate in what God is doing. Both of these practices, what Rowan Williams calls the first acts of mission, are “now” activities.
They will bring an alternative tomorrow, they will draw wisdom from yesterday. But they begin with the “now” of God’s action.
Thursday, November 06, 2014
too busy not to listen
As the Semester ends at Uniting College there is the usual tiredness, mixed with piles (and piles) of marking. At times of busyness, the need to make time to listen is even more important. In fact, listening is one of the most important things a leader can offer their community. We have two ears but only one tongue for a reason. Hence the following invite, being sent out to our students in the next few days. It is an invite to be listened to ….
It has been a year of significant change for students at 34 Lipsett Terrace, Brooklyn Park. Whether you are studying for a Flinders University or Adelaide College of Divinity award, there have been changes – with new technologies, with the library, in ecumenical relationships.
As the year ends, Janet Buchan (Executive Officer, ACD) and Steve Taylor (Principal, Uniting College), would like to spend some time listening to students. Whether you are undergraduate or postgraduate, part-time or full-time, we would like to hear from you.
What is working well? What could work better?
We will offer you pizza. We will guide you through a process of clarifying and refining the good and the bad.
We make three commitments
- We will provide you with pizza if you RSVP
- We will listen
- We will make what emerges a priority for us into 2015.
Date: Wednesday, November 19, 5:30 pm-7:15 pm, student common room. RSVP by Monday, November 17, to lynda dot leitner at flinders dot edu dot au
Hoping to see you
Janet Buchan and Steve Taylor
Monday, October 27, 2014
sticky innovation: making change concrete
Making change stick. It’s one of the challenges of innovation. Finding ways to embed change in the life of your organisation and your systems, so that change lives on. Last week I saw this happen in two different ways, by ritualising and by double-dipping.
First, by ritualising. Last year as our annual Presbytery and Synod approached, I was in a group discussing a separate issue, of how to name a change in our candidate process. Uniting Church ministerial training guidelines, passed in 1997, reviewed and affirmed in 2007, call for a Third Phase of Ministerial Education. It is intended to be period of sustained and intentional mentoring and support for newly ordained ministers during the first three years of ministry practice. In South Australia, this partnership happens through Formation Panels. Nine times in Phase two, five times in Phase three, a group of experienced ministers meet with those in Phase 3, to provide support in transition, to advise in managing time, developing an appropriate work-life balance and doing all those firsts – wedding, funeral, baptism, Easter, AGM, conflict!
Deep relationships form. Then suddenly, the minister has moved to Phase 4. How to honour this change? At the same time, another group I was part of was planning the annual Recognition of Ministry service, in which retiring ministers are thanked and blessed. Why not weave a new ritual into that evening? Why not ask all those transitioning into Phase 4 to stand? Why not celebrate this expression of growth? Why not ask the retiring ministers to bless them?
This week the annual Presbytery and Synod approached again. The order of service from last year was found and the email arrived. “Steve, last year we did something. Can you remember what it was, because it needs to be done again.” And so ritualising, weaving a growth moment, with prayer, into a worship service, had “stuck.”
Second, double-dipping. In May, we introduced a change into our Adelaide College of Divinity graduation service. As each graduand came forward, they were briefly introduced. A few sentences that told where they had come from, what they had studied and where they were going to. This involved a prior brainstorm regarding what we as Faculty knew of the student, followed by a phone call to ensure the student was happy with what would be said. A bit of work. But the feedback was overwhelming. Students felt personalised, the audience felt connected.
Last week, we faced the annual government reporting. It includes a graduate survey, to capture employability. We all grinned. No need do that research, because we already have that data. Sure enough, every single graduation introduction, had the employment data we needed. Double dipping. Using one piece of work twice. It makes the change likely to “stick” because of the value of double dipping.
Making change stick is harder that starting change. But ritualising and double-dipping are all practices which make change concrete.
Friday, September 12, 2014
a college of passion
Twice this week I’ve been told that a Uniting College lecture is full of passion.
First, a visitor. A successful local business person, dropping in to see “what happens”? And at half-time, looking the lecturer in the eye and thanking them for their passion.
Second, a lecturer. Inviting guests to share of their ministry. Glad, at lecture’s end, of the passion. And how it infected the students, shaped the tutorial, infected the ongoing learning of the class.
What is interesting is that passion is a core value at Uniting College. You know those vision statements, destined to sit at the bottom of a pile of papers? Well, the vision statement of Uniting College includes passion:
To develop life-long disciples and effective leaders for a healthy, missional Church, who are:
So, somehow, passion has snuck out of our vision statement, leapt of the page and seeped into how classes. How?
I asked this question at our team yesterday. What does passion mean for us? And how has it leaked into our life?
And so together we talked as a team.
- is it because we care for our students? We’re not just about our research, we’re also about the people who come to learn and grow with us
- is it because we’re shaped by suffering? That in each of us as lecturers, there has been a personal learning, a vulnerability
- it is because we’re authentic? We want to walk our talk. We want what we say about faith, about ministry, about life, to be lived in us and livable through us.
- is it because we’re sacrificial? Many of us have been paid better elsewhere. We’ve taken pay reductions to work here, because we believe in the Kingdom, believe in what we’re doing.
- is it because we’re whole-bodied? The creative act invites us to take risks, to offer ourselves in risk into our projects, our lectures, our classes.
Passion. In us. In all of us as a team. In our life. Snd so in our lectures. And please, in God’s grace, in our students.
Thursday, September 11, 2014
facing forward Uniting Colleges
“We need different kind of leadership; people that respond quickly to new situations; people that don’t come with a ready made tool kit of resources; people that know how to draw out the best of the local community” So said Andrew Dutney in announcing the birth of Uniting College for Leadership and Theology five years ago. It was the reason for the change of name, a commitment to be a different kind of College that would train a different type of leader.
It’s consistent with how scholarship is understood in the Basis of Union. Paragraph 11 links scholarship with the mission of the church for fresh words and deeds, as the occasion demands. Thus the Uniting Church seeks a different model of scholar than that offered by the modern University. It seeks scholarship (and by implication, a College) that is ecclesial because it is integrative (read alongside paragraph 10), missionary, innovative (fresh words and deeds) and contextual (as the occasion demands).
Sunday, June 22, 2014
change processes: finding voice
On Saturday, I was allocated 60 minutes to lead a discernment process at our Presbytery and Synod meeting, in regard to mission. After I finished, a participant approached me to ask who they could complain to about the process. They considered what I had done a waste of everyone’s time. The conversation helped clarify for me some ongoing questions about change processes across systems.
I want to blog about these, in order to help clarify my thinking. In this first post, I want to outline what I did and why. In a second post I want to reflect on the complaint, and what it helped clarify for me about where and how systems seek energy, change and leadership. In a third post, I want to summarise a presentation I made on Friday, on how New Testament churches inter-connect and to relate it to how churches today are connecting. Fourth, I want to reflect on what I might do differently and what denominational change processes are needed in the 21st century.
SO WHAT WAS THE GROUP PROCESS I INITIATED?
In March, an overseas speaker, Dave Male had addressed the Presbytery and Synod in regard to mission. Towards the end of the day, Dave presented 12 challenges to us. Following these challenges, those gathered spent about 20 minutes in table groups discussing the 12 challenges. People were invited to write their comments, which were collected. The meeting moved on with the existing agenda. In other words, nothing concrete was decided by this gathering of people.
Afterward, I was asked if, the next time we gathered, I could provide some leadership in helping us take some next steps. I was allocated 60 minutes and here is what I did.
Introduction (10 minutes) – The 12 things were re-introduced. Woven into this summarising was “appreciative inquiry.” Various “bright spot” stories, of local examples from the Synod, were presented. This served both as a reminder and as a contextualisation. Where there was no obvious “bright spot”, we paused for prayer.
Introduce process (5 minutes) – The Presbytery and Synod gathers around table groups. On each table was placed a task. 1/3 had a blank piece of paper and they were invited to identify a word or image from bright spots. 2/3 were provided with some part of the table group feedback from last time. The task was to come up with 1 proposal; with 1 action that might help us as a Presbybery and Synod take a step forward.
Group work (15 minutes) – In preparation I had analysed the table group feedback. I had looked for movement. Green lights – What did people most want to push forward? Orange lights – what were things that people were wanting to question, to nuance, to think about more carefully?
Green lights – Train all your people to share their story; Presbytery mission staff to be involved in fresh expressions; Invest in people not buildings
Orange lights -The Role of Holy Spirit in our life as church; the link between evangelism, agencies and fresh expressions; the role of Synod in change processes
Reporting back from the floor (27 minutes assuming 1 minute per table group) – Each table group were invited to present their proposal. After each sharing, the Moderator “tested” each proposal. If people were ‘warm’ they would raise an orange card, if people were “cold” they could raise a blue card. The 3 or 4 proposals that had the least blue cards, would be taken away, in preparation to bring them back as proposals the next time (November) the Presbytery and Synod gathered.
Summary (5 minute) – Thanks for participating, a reminder that the work would become proposals to “vote” on at November Presbytery and Synod and a final 13th bright spot story, to encourage.
WHY THIS PROCESS?
First, at Pentecost, the promise is that the Spirit would be poured out on all people; Your sons and daughters would prophesy; younger people will see visions; older people will dream dreams. I actually believe that. I wondered if, in 15 minutes, we as a Synod might experience that Pentecost Spirit.
Second, we as a Presbytery and Synod have some significant challenges. It just might be that some part of our future, a next step, is actually tucked up in someone’s imagination, among the gathered people of God.
Thirdly, my experience is that processes in which humans are involved are more likely to last longer. So why not keep engaging people in the processes.
PITFALLS THAT MADE ME NERVOUS:
First, time – 60 minutes is a significant block of time in which to expect a large group to engage. Would it be worth it? What if there were no ideas?
Second, and related the process – Would people engage? What if nothing happened? What type of ideas would emerge?
So that was the process. Next time, I’ll reflect on the person who had the courage afterward to complain, and what it signals about where systems look for leadership and change.
Tuesday, June 17, 2014
DIY supervision, DIY spirituality, DIY leadership, DIY church
“There is even less discussion with supervisors about the changes that might be produced by what I see as rapidly expanding DIY doctoral education practices” – books, blogs, webinars, forums, chats – “Much of this socially mediated DIY activity is international, cross-disciplinary and all day/all night … something is happening here and we (collectively) don’t know what it is. … It’s a field which is fragmented, partially marketised, unregulated and a bit feral. But it’s big, it’s powerful, more and more doctoral researchers are into it, and it is profoundly pedagogical. I’m concerned that British universities are generally (and of course there are exceptions, but mostly this is the case) not helping supervisors to think about this DIY supervision trend and what it means for how doctoral education is changing – and crucially, what the implications for their supervision practices might be.” (Some excerpts from a recent blog post on the rise of DIY in post-graduate study.
The links to spirituality, leadership and church are obvious. For many folk, the internet has become a huge resource in sustaining faith.
This is only a hunch, but I doubt emerging church and fresh expressions would have had nearly the impact (for good and bad) without the internet.
It is a place awash with resources for leaders – sermons to hear, places to discuss, people to follow.
I’ve spent the last two days at the Education for Ministry working group. It is a Uniting Church Assembly project. I’ve sat with 9 leaders from across the Uniting Church in Australia, talking about the future of formation for ministry. Our focus was formal training, and all the time, what about the “big,” “powerful,” and “pedagogical” training that is the DIY of living in a world socially mediated? What are those we train learning via the internet? Who are they “following” that is partial, fragmented and unregulated? What does this mean for how leaders are being formed today?
Wednesday, June 11, 2014
Diploma of Ministry: New pathway in Innovation and Pioneering
It seems appropriate in the week following Pentecost, to note the recent decision of the Academic Board to approve a new pathway in Innovation and Pioneering.
Dave Male has endorsed this, saying:
“This is a fantastic course that equips missional leaders for the present and the future of the church. I would encourage any leader to consider coming on this. It has some of the best material and teachers in the pioneering world.”
Diploma of Ministry: New pathway in Innovation and Pioneering
A new pathway in the Diploma of Ministry will provide a comprehensive foundation in principles and practices of ministries of innovation and social entrepreneurship shaped by a Christian commitment.
The Diploma of Ministry is nested within the Bachelor of Ministry for those who wish to continue their study. This new pathway would be ideally suited for those wanting to transition to Bachelor of Ministry Practice Stream.
The Diploma of Ministry general structure is 8 units, of which 4 are core and 4 are elective. In this pathway students complete 6 required units (including the four core) and 2 optional units. The Diploma can be completed in one year of full-time study, or part-time equivalent study.
MINS1002 Introducing the Scriptures*
This unit provides an overview of the OT and NT writings, exploring major theological themes (one being missio Dei). Students in this pathway would have available an assignment focused on pioneering in Biblical texts.
MINS1305 Reading Cultures*
Key themes in this unit include understanding communities, global cultures, and ministry models. Students would have available an assignment focused on pioneering in a new mission.
MINS1601 Spirituality for 21st Century Disciples*
This units assists students to develop the ability to articulate biblical, spiritual and ethical bases for Christian discipleship and reflect on application of these in our own life and others.
MINS1510 Introduction to Formation for Ministry*
In this unit students explore the nature and practice of Christian formation, including learning styles, self-assessment, commitment to ethical practice, to develop an understanding of identity in relation to taking on professional role in ministry and the implications for vocation, faith and life.
MINS23xx Innovation as Pioneering
This new unit explores questions such as: Who is a pioneer? What are their practices? How do they sustain their life? (for more, see here).
MINS2518 Supervised Field Education 1
Students in this pathway would undertake SFE for experience in a pioneering context, either starting something or in observation.
Two units chosen from the following:
MINS2318 Mission Then, Mission Now
MINS2314 The Theology of Jesus Christ, Word and Saviour
MINS3339 Missional Church Leadership
MINS2537 Theology and Practice of Chaplaincy
MINS2317 Guided Study in Innovation A
Each of these units gives students the opportunity to explore or reflect on themes relevant to innovation and pioneering:
- Mission Then, Mission Now explores church history for mission lessons for today;
- Theology of Jesus Christ explores Jesus with particular attention to boundary crossing;
- Missional Church Leadership invites reflection on mission to Western cultures with particular attention to the local church’s participation;
- Theology and Practice of Chaplaincy introduces students to practices, images and theological themes in a practical theology of chaplaincy.
- Guided Study in Innovation A enables a focus on mission shaped ministry
Rationale for new Diploma pathway
We have, over the last few years, used the specialisation pathway in the Diploma to point to particular vocation paths within our suite of courses. A new pathway in innovation and pioneering continues this focus.
We have a BMin Practice Stream offering and the Diploma provides a clear entry pathway.
The Uniting Church have asked us to train pioneer leaders and this course meets this request.
In a diverse educational market, this continues one of the unique foci of Uniting College around leadership, mission and innovation.